Just because you may be impaired, doesn’t mean that you can’t still get out and enjoy a full life. Today, there are a variety of electric wheel chairs to choose from that can fit into your lifestyle and provide you with the freedom you want.
Being confined to a wheelchair and having no mobility can lessen the quality of your life. If you or someone you know is unable to walk or has difficulty walking, but wants to increase their mobility beyond a standard wheelchair, then an electric wheelchair or mobility scooter maybe a better choice.
You may not want to have someone pushing you or having to manually push yourself in a wheel chair, so having the ease of an electric wheelchair may be more convenient for your lifestyle.
The portability of these chairs make it easy for you to take them with you. There are inexpensive racks and hitches that attach to your vehicle to transport your chair.
Types of Electric Wheelchairs
Also called power wheelchairs because they are battery powered, come in three different types. They are:
Front Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair
These wheelchairs usually have two larger wheels in the front and two smaller caster type wheels in the back that help you turn and pivot. The chair sits forward over the larger front wheel. This chair gets its power from the front wheels, easily riding up and down hill as well as over uneven terrain. Steering is controlled by the joystick in front of the armrest. The average speed of a front wheel drive power wheelchair is about 5 mph. Because the power is up front, going at higher speeds could cause the chair to fishtail, which would be dangerous to someone who is already impaired. The turning radius on these chairs start at 33″.
Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair
On rear-wheel drive wheelchairs, you’ll notice that the back wheels are larger than the front wheels. This is because the chair’s power comes from the back wheels. You’ll also notice that the chair sits over the back wheel. This type of wheel chair is one of the most stable. Just be aware that riding up steep hills will cause the chair to tip back slightly. There are anti-tip brackets that keep it from completely falling backwards. The turning radius can range fro 25″ to 28″ depending on the manufacturer of the chair.
Center Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair
The power in these chairs come from the two large center wheels. There is also a set of smaller wheels in the front and in the back of the chair. So you actually have half of the chair in the front and half in the back. These types of chairs have the possibility of getting stuck on uneven terrain or steep curbs because of the small wheels in the front and back. The good thing is it’s easy to maneuver around small spaces because of the 24″ to 26″ turning radius.
How to Shop for an Electric Wheelchair?
Two questions you should ask yourself in order to determine they type of wheel chair you should purchase. They are, “What are my needs?” and “How much can I afford to spend?”.
If you are elderly and are unable to walk long distances or have had surgery and have limited mobility, you may be interested in a travel/portable power wheelchair or mobility scooter.
Travel/Portable Power Wheelchairs
This type of wheelchair is portable and because of the tight turning radius, it’s easy to maneuver through small spaces. They are normally used by the elderly or those who have limited mobility. It’s powered by a battery pack that sits inside the base underneath the chair. A joystick that is attached to the front of the arm of the chair controls the direction and movement. These chairs can support up to 250 lbs of weight. You can break the chair down into four parts for easy transport and it can be easily assembled. These wheelchairs can range in price from $700 – $3,000.
If you’re someone who is unable to walk on your own due to a medical condition, is overweight or tall and health issue keep you immobilized, spending the majority of your time confined to a wheelchair but you still needs to be mobile; a heavy duty/ high weight capacity power wheelchair my be what you need.
Heavy Duty/High-weight Capacity Power Wheelchairs
These wheelchairs are made for people who need a sturdy chair that can support their weight. The seats are wider to provide more comfort and allow you to adjust the weight an angle. The padding on these seats provide. There’s also a weight capacity up to 450 lbs. These chairs can go up to 12 miles at this weight. The cost of these wheelchairs run from $2,500-$8,000.
Travel Mobility Scooters
Travel Mobility Scooters are a great way for people who are unable to walk long distances or who’ve had surgery and are temporarily immobilized. Scooters can have 3 or 4 wheels, their are folding scooter as well as all terrain scooters. They are convenient for shopping with their convenient baskets as well as for storing your cane or other necessary items you may need while you’re out. They have comfortable seats and come equipped with a horn, brakes, mirrors(on some models), and a handy basket. Scooters range in price from $699 to $5,000.
Katie Smith is the enthusiastic woman. She loves writing about health and lifestyle on Reviewmoon.
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